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EHSO Guide to Section and Use of PPE
- Personal Protection Equipment

If you are looking for free guidance in the selection and use of PPE for safety and to comply with the OSHA requirements, you've come to the right place.  This OSHA standard, included separately in the standards for each industry segment (except agriculture), requires that employers provide employees, at no cost to employees, with personal protective equipment designed to protect them against certain hazards. This can range from protective helmets to prevent head injuries in construction and cargo handling work, to eye protection, hearing protection, hard-toed shoes, special goggles (for welders, for example) and gauntlets for iron workers.

bulletEnvironmental Health & Safety Online - Main Contents Page

Back to the main Safety / OSHA page

bulletThe OSHA Requirements
bulletHow to select PPE - Page 1
bulletHow to Select PPE - Page 2
bulletEPA Levels of Protection (A through D)
bulletChemical compatibility chart
bulletOSHA Federal Register Notice for PPE - Full Text
bulletRespiratory Protection Program requirements 1910.134
bulletOSHA Respiratory Protection Interpretory Guidance
bulletSummary of major requirements
bulletFull text of the OSHA 1910.134 standard
bulletSelecting a respirator
bulletTraining materials
bulletNotices and instructions for employees in English and Spanish
bulletStill more information from NIOSH:
bullet NIOSH Respirator Topic Page
Provides information on respiratory protection, including user notices, respirator selection, certification and standards.
bullet NIOSH Protective Clothing Topic Page
Recommendations for selection, other resources.
bullet A Guide for Evaluating the Performance of Chemical Protective Clothing
DHHS (NIOSH) Pub. No. 90-109 (June 1990)
Outline of the selection process for CPC, including examples.



1910.132 General requirements

(a) Application. Protective equipment, including personal protective equipment for eyes, face, head, and extremities, protective clothing, respiratory devices, and protective shields and barriers, shall be provided, used, and maintained in a sanitary and reliable condition wherever it is necessary by reason of hazards of processes or environment, chemical hazards, radiological hazards, or mechanical irritants encountered in a manner capable of causing injury or impairment in the function of any part of the body through absorption, inhalation or physical contact.

Employers are required to provide a hazard free environment for employees. Anyone encountering hazardous conditions must be protected against the potential hazards. The purpose of personal protective clothing and equipment (PPE) is to shield or isolate individuals from the chemical, physical, and biological hazards that may be present in the workplace.

The adverse effects chemical substances may have on the human body necessitate the use of protective clothing. The predominant physical, chemical, or toxic property of the material dictates the type and degree of protection required. For example, protection against a corrosive compound is different than that for a compound which releases a highly toxic vapor. The work function and the probability of exposure to the substance must also be considered when specifying protective clothing. As with the selection of proper respiratory protective apparatus, the hazards encountered must be thoroughly assessed before deciding on the protective clothing to be worn.

Once the specific hazard has been identified, appropriate clothing can be selected. Several factors must be considered, most important being the safety of the individual. The level of protection assigned must match the hazard confronted. Other factors include cost, availability, compatibility with other equipment, suitability, and performance.

Protective clothing ensembles range from safety glasses, hardhats, and safety shoes to fully encapsulating suits with a supplied source of breathing air. The variety of clothing includes disposable coveralls, fire‑retardant clothing, and chemical splash suits. Different materials are used to provide a protective barrier against the hazard.

In general, it is just good common sense to have PPE available for whatever emergency situation could arise in your operation. The use of PPE is specifically required by OSHA in 29 CFR 1910, in at least the following places:


1910.94(a)(5)  - Abrasive Blasting


1910.95(b)(1) - Noise Exposure


1910.120 - Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response


1910.156(f) - Fire Brigades


1910.252(a)(5) - Welding, Cutting, and Brazing


1910.261(b)(2) - Pulp, Paper, and Paperboard Mills


1910.262(qq) - Textiles


1910.266(c)(1) - Pulpwood Logging


1910.1000(d) - Asbestos Exposure


1910.1200(h)(2)(iii) - Hazard Communication Standard

Full text of OSHA Federal Register final notice for:
Personal Protective Equipment for General Industry - 59 FR pages 16334-16364

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This page was updated on 2-Apr-2018